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April 19, 2020 9:55 pm

Amid Coronavirus Crisis, 77th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Revolt Marked by Small, Online Ceremonies

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Captured Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are rounded up by the Waffen SS on Nowolipie Street, between April 19 and May 16, 1943. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

With the coronavirus pandemic preventing large gatherings, the 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was marked on Sunday with small ceremonies and online memorials by political leaders, museums, and Jewish organizations.

The anniversary marks the beginning of the 1943 revolt of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto against the Nazi occupiers who were preparing to “liquidate” the ghetto and send its residents to death camps.

The ghetto fighters held off the Nazi war machine for almost a month, eventually forcing the Nazis to raze most of the ghetto to the ground. Only a handful of the Jewish fighters survived. The revolt was the first mass uprising against Nazi occupation in World War II.

Israel’s Ghetto Fighters’ House museum marked the anniversary by posting a discussion with the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich; Netta Goldman, an educator from the Ghetto Fighters’ House; and Noam Leibman, educational director at Moreshet, Mordechai Anielevich Memorial Holocaust Study and Research Center.

מרד גטו ורשה פרץ בערב ליל הסדר תש"ג (19.4.1943), ונמשך כמעט חודש ימים. חודש של לחימת היהודים שנותרו בגטו, לאחר שרוב…

Posted by ‎Ghetto Fighters' House בית לוחמי הגטאות‎ on Sunday, April 19, 2020

The United States Holocaust Museum gave a brief overview of the revolt, tweeting, “#OTD in 1943, Jewish fighters in the Warsaw ghetto took up arms against Nazi SS and police units, forcing them to destroy the ghetto building by building. Hundreds of thousands had already been killed from the largest ghetto in German-occupied Poland.”

The Auschwitz Museum posted a quote by Marek Edelman, one of the leaders of the revolt, saying, “When you witness evil and you turn your head or you do not give a hand when you are able to help, you became co-responsible. Your turning the head away assists those who perpetrate evil.”

The World Jewish Congress concentrated on the participation of women in the revolt, noting, “women played a critical role,” and posting a video detailing their involvement as fighters, couriers, and weapons smugglers.

The Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland also marked the occasion, tweeting, “We commemorate today the heroes who lost their lives in the act of resistance the #Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied #Poland during #WW2 to oppose Germany’s final effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to concentration camps.”

Georgette Mosbacher, the US Ambassador to Poland, joined in, tweeting, “No matter what occupies our minds right now, we can never forget the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. … The bravery of those who sacrificed everything will never be forgotten.”

David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, said of the anniversary, “Poorly armed, half-starved & vastly outnumbered Jews fought heavily equipped Nazi German forces. Amazingly, held them off for weeks while inflicting major damage.”

“Here’s to their awesome courage, inspiring example & sacred memory,” he added.

Sebastian Rejak, acting director of the AJC’s branch for central Europe, noted that due to the coronavirus pandemic, only select individuals were going to attend Poland’s memorial to the ghetto fighters, along with some representatives of Jewish organizations. An online virtual ceremony was also held.

“But we all remember the hope of their hopeless fight and their spirit, and we will always remember,” he added.

Among the individuals visiting the memorial were Chief Rabbi Schudrich, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, President Andrzej Duda, and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.

Online events were also being held by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, as well as memorial concerts broadcast on radio.

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